updated 6/14/2005 12:08:25 PM ET 2005-06-14T16:08:25

Guest: Rob Tannenbaum, Mary Prevost, Mary Fulginiti, Mickey Sherman, John Kelly, Joe Tacopina, Robert Shapiro, Gloria Allred

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Michael Jackson walks, 10 counts, not guilty on every last one of them.  And right now, you‘re looking at a live picture outside of Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson‘s home, where his faithful followers have flocked, gathered outside the gates to celebrate.  Tonight, we‘re going to have the full story on the Jackson verdict. 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.  

We‘re going to have full jury coverage of the not-guilty verdict, including analysis from our all-star legal panel, and also going to have MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby.  She‘s going to be here with her interview with Michael Jackson‘s older brother Jermaine and also Tito. 

But, first, not guilty on all counts, the words came as a shock to some, a vindication to others.  Tonight, Michael Jackson‘s a free man after jurors listened to four months of testimony from 140 witnesses and then spent 32 hours deliberating. 

Dan Abrams, host of MSNBC‘s “ABRAMS REPORT,” of course, has been following this case from the very beginning.  And he is with us live now from Santa Maria, California. 

Dan, I‘ve got to tell you, this was a shocking verdict to me.  What happened? 

DAN ABRAMS, NBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT:  You know, Joe, at the beginning of this case, I would have said that I would have expected this outcome, that Michael Jackson to be found not guilty on all the charges. 

By the end of this case, after the closing argument, after talking to people close to the case, a lot of people here, I would say the majority of people here, were starting to feel like Jackson would get convicted of something, maybe not all the charges, but of something.  And so the fact that he has now walked away a free man, not guilty on each and every charge, I think it‘s fair to say is a surprise to most here at the courthouse. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Dan, we talked about this last week.  So many of us that are observing this from the outside don‘t realize what jurors go through. 

Everybody was focusing on that little boy‘s tape that he gave the state, talking about Michael Jackson molesting him at the very end of the case.  And it was a very moving tape.  But, apparently, the jurors had decided this case was over after they got a good look at the boy‘s mother.  Talk about that. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s right.  And that‘s exactly what the defense wanted. 

The defense wanted these jurors to look at this case through mama, not to say, let‘s just look at the boy, not to look at all the other past allegations of Michael Jackson, but to say, is it possible, is it likely, is it probable that this mom made up this story and got her son to go along with it and her other son and her daughter, mind you?

And in the end, as you know, standard proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  And so, these jurors had to be 90-something percent certain that it happened the way the boy said it and not the way the defense was saying it.  And, in the end, I think that they just couldn‘t be that certain that Michael Jackson didn‘t do it. 

Now, mind you, Joe, I don‘t think these jurors are saying what some of the Michael Jackson supporters are saying, which is that Michael Jackson‘s a great guy, that Michael Jackson has been wronged, that people misperceive him.  One of these jurors is, in fact, saying that she wouldn‘t have even allowed her child—she was saying, what‘s the matter with this mother, who lets her child stay in Michael Jackson‘s room? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  In fact, Dan, we have that sound bite.  Let‘s listen to that right now, because I thought it was very telling.  I also think, though, it was a bit confusing to some.  Let‘s roll the tape. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What mother in her right mind would allow that to happen, or, you know, just freely volunteer your child, you know, to sleep with someone, and not just so much Michael Jackson, but any person, for that matter?


SCARBOROUGH:  So again, very confusing, Dan, because it seems like she‘s saying, if Michael Jackson molested her child, it‘s her own fault.  Now, my job here, of course...

ABRAMS:  That‘s the thing I don‘t get.  I don‘t get that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t get it either. 


ABRAMS:  Right?

I mean, she‘s saying, she‘s saying how can mom let her child sleep with Michael Jackson and then, on the other hand saying, but we don‘t think that Michael Jackson did anything wrong here. 


ABRAMS:  So, if Michael Jackson‘s not doing anything wrong and it‘s a big slumber party, as his attorney said to me, his ex-attorney, Brian Oxman, he said look, you‘ve got to understand, these are just slumber parties.  That‘s all they are.  You have to understand it.  In that case, if it‘s just a slumber party, what‘s the big deal? 

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘re looking at pictures of the jury right now.  That was really bizarre.  I thought that was a bizarre moment in the jury‘s press conference. 

Finally, Dan, and, of course, it‘s not my job to speak for millions in middle America, but I‘m going to do that right now.  I am sure that millions in middle America are shocked by this verdict and they‘re thinking, what does a celebrity have to do to be convicted?  You‘ve been following—well, you followed every case in the age of O.J.  What‘s the answer to that question?  I mean, we could talk about O.J. Simpson, of course.

We could talk about Baretta.  I mean, my gosh.

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The facts just seem overwhelming against these people.  And now Michael Jackson, a long history of being accused of child molestation, what gives?  Do celebrities always walk? 

ABRAMS:  Well, what‘s interesting is, in a lot of these cases, what the defense is, is, the reason I got targeted is because I‘m a celebrity.  It becomes part of their defense.  It‘s not just that they‘ve got high-powered lawyers.  It‘s not just that they have a lot of money.  It‘s not just that they‘re famous.

It‘s that it‘s actually part of the defense.  And that‘s what Michael Jackson was saying here as well.  He‘s saying, I‘m being targeted because I‘m rich and famous.  O.J., same thing.  I was targeted because I‘m O.J.  Simpson. 

So, that, that—because that becomes part of the defense, it‘s hard to separate it out.  But, you know, look, the bottom line is, I think it‘s a fair question to ask, why does it seem in the highest-profile cases with the most serious charges—we‘re not talking Winona Ryder and shoplifting here.


ABRAMS:  We‘re talking about the most serious cases, that it does seem that the highest profile of defendants—and—but—and, again, Scott Peterson wasn‘t high profile before this happened. 

You know, this is about celebrities claiming they‘re being targeted by the police and it seems to be working. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, you‘re right. 

Dan Abrams, I can‘t thank you enough.  Thanks for being with us and putting it into perspective.  And I‘ll tell you what, friends.  I don‘t want to echo John Edwards too much here.  But when it comes to these type of trials, when it comes to courtroom justice, at least in California, there are two Americas.  There‘s a judicial system for those of us who are not celebrities, that can‘t afford the most expensive lawyers in America, and then apparently there‘s justice for celebrities. 

Now, we‘ve got a great panel with us tonight.  In fact, we‘re going to be going to them in a minute, Robert Shapiro, Joe Tacopina, and also Gloria Allred.

But, first, let‘s go to MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby.  She‘s the first journalist to speak to a member of the Jackson family. 

And, Rita, welcome to MSNBC. 

Tell me, what‘s the Jackson family going through tonight?  What are their spirits like? 

RITA COSBY, MSNBC:  Well, they are certainly relieved. 

In fact, I spoke, Joe, with Jermaine Jackson, one of Michael Jackson‘s older brothers, literally 30 seconds after the verdict.  He hadn‘t even left the courthouse yet.  He told me that his brother is now free.  He was saying it over and over again.  You could tell he was cheering loudly. 

I also spoke with again, Joe, just a few hours later.  And I asked him his reaction and his family‘s reaction to the jury‘s dramatic decision.  Take a look. 



because we always felt from the very beginning my brother was 1000 percent

innocent.  That‘s what we—that‘s what we always knew.  And that‘s what -

·         the jury did a great job.  They did the right thing.  And we‘re very happy.  The family is rejoicing.  And Michael‘s resting.  And we‘re all very happy, Rita, very happy that—what was done. 

COSBY:  What was Michael‘s reaction, Jermaine?  You were near him in the courtroom at the time.  What did he say and what did he do? 

J. JACKSON:  Look, during the—during the final parts, the judge, he only was in the—in the courtroom.  So, I stayed out to let my mother and other people go in.  So, I didn‘t see his reaction. 

But he was strong.  He was very strong.  He‘s been tremendously strong.  But I would like to really, really thank the supporters from around the world, the fans and the people who love my brother, who love the family, who has always supported us, because, like I said from the very beginning, he‘s been 1000 percent innocent.  And that showed today.  But it was a long, long struggle and a tough road. 

But being a family and staying together, we can overcome anything, and that‘s what we‘ve proved.  So—but thank you and thank you everyone who really believed in us.  And we know that the ones who didn‘t and who said this and that, but that‘s not what it‘s about.  We thank God.  We thank the people who have been there and who know who we really are.  And so I‘ll say it again.  Thank you to the world, really.  And I really think that...

COSBY:  Jermaine, we heard from the jurors, too.  I was very impressed with them.  Here they were, you know, the regular jurors, also the alternates, very thoughtful.  They seemed very level-headed. 

What were your impressions of the jury and what would like to say would you like to say to this jury tonight?                

J. JACKSON:  Well, I would like to say the jury has been wonderful.  And there are wonderful people in this county.  It‘s just the people who are in authority weren‘t so nice.  And you know who I‘m speaking of.

But the taxpayers up here and the people are just a wonderful community.  But, at the same time, the people who are put in power, those were the ones who weren‘t so nice and who concocted this whole thing from the very beginning.  But justice was served.  My brother is 1000 percent innocent.  I am the most happiest person.

Also, my son‘s birthday is today.  Dante (ph), he‘s 13.  And that was a special day.  Today is a special day.  And I‘m going to let Tito say hi right quick. 

COSBY:  OK.  Great.

Tito”?  Do we have Tito Jackson on? 


COSBY:  Tell us, if you could, your reaction to the verdict. 

T. JACKSON:  Oh, it‘s a beautiful day today.  Like Jermaine was saying, it‘s a beautiful day.  And we‘re just glad all of this is behind us, that we can go on with our lives and Michael can go on with his life and do what he does best.  And that‘s making good music, making his fans happy, people happy all over the world.  And that‘s what it‘s about. 

COSBY:  Now, Tito, how tough was this for the family?  We saw pictures of Michael.  He looked so thin.  He lost a lot of weight as this case went on.  This really took a toll on him. 

T. JACKSON:  Of course, this would take a toll on anyone.

But, at the same time, you must remember that he‘s a very strong individual.  But when you‘re faced with such allegations, it would just beat you down in that fact.  So, yes, he‘s strong.  He‘s getting his strength back moment by moment.  And he knows that he‘s going to be Michael Jackson in the future and do the good music that he‘s always done and make people happy. 

COSBY:  What do you think is ahead for your brother career-wise, Tito? 

T. JACKSON:  I‘m sorry? 

COSBY:  What do you think is ahead for your brother career-wise? 

T. JACKSON:  Oh, Michael Jackson is Michael Jackson.  And no matter if he sold 40 million records off of one record and sold 15 of his last or whatever the counts may be, Michael Jackson will be Michael Jackson.  And you can‘t take that away from him.  And who knows what the future is for him. 

COSBY:  Do you think he‘s going to be bigger than ever? 

T. JACKSON:  He‘s never been small. 


SCARBOROUGH:  No, he‘s never been small. 

And, Rita, it sounds like some of us in middle America are concerned about Michael Jackson being Michael Jackson, but obviously a big day for this family.  The jury has spoken.  Tell me, what is Michael Jackson doing tonight?  What‘s the Jackson family doing tonight? 

COSBY:  Well, they were definitely celebrating when I spoke with them a short time ago. 

They also said, Joe, that Michael Jackson is just physically exhausted.  Remember, he‘s under 100 pounds.  He‘s lost a lot of weight as this three-month-long trial dragged on.  They said that he‘s just physically wiped, rejoicing, but also sleeping and resting a lot tonight, but most of all extremely relieved.  They had no idea when this decision came down which way it was going to go.  They truly did not know. 

And, of course, tonight they are just celebrating, sleeping.  And we are probably going to not—we probably didn‘t hear the last of them.  I have a feeling we‘re going to be hearing more from them in the coming days. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Rita Cosby, thanks so much.  And welcome to MSNBC.  God knows nobody in the Jackson family would ever talk to me. 


SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s great to have you here. 

COSBY:  Thank you, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Coming up, again, we‘ve got a great all-star panel tonight, Robert Shapiro when we come back, also Gloria Allred and Joe Tacopina, talking about this shocking verdict.  And I will say it.  It is a shocking verdict.

Also, we‘re going to be taking you down to Aruba to get the very latest on that heartbreaking story.  It looks like maybe one or two of those young boys beginning to crack. 

That and a lot more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Our Michael Jackson coverage continues next, a closer look at what happened inside that jury room. Plus, what does this case mean for a possible custody battle over his children?  Should Michael Jackson keep them?

That and a lot more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.



SCARBOROUGH:  The courthouse faithful, they had their day in the sun today, as Michael Jackson walked out a free man.  There were flying helicopters, white doves being released, and much, much, more.

And there to look at it all, to track it all is MSNBC‘s Karen Brown. 

Karen, what a day.  Talk about it for us. 

KAREN BROWN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, take a look at this.  Already, the local paper, “The Santa Maria Times,” has their headlines, “Not Guilty on All Counts.

And I have to tell you, before the verdicts were read, there was this really eerie moment of silence out here, as several hundred people that were lining the streets here seemed to be collectively holding their breath.  And then that first not-guilty verdict was read and everybody seemed to go crazy.  This crowd went wild.  They were screaming.  They were crying.  They were hugging each other.  We had one woman who was releasing one white dove for every single not-guilty verdict. 

So, of course, there she is.  There were 10 of those white doves flying into the air.  I did speak to one of the lieutenants here, who said that they did not have any major security problems, because, of course, this was the verdict that most of these fans wanted.  So, they did have about 100 officers on scene to keep things under control. 

Now, in the courtroom, it was definitely a different scene.  It was very tense in that courtroom.  Michael Jackson did not visibly react to any of his not-guilty verdicts.  Some of the jurors, though, in fact, were crying.  And Susan Yu, one of Michael Jackson‘s attorneys, who has been very straight-faced through this entire proceeding, she also seemed to get very emotional.  She was sobbing. 

So, it‘s incredible to think that, after all of this time, a three-and-a-half month trial, Michael Jackson is a free man—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Remarkable, Karen, just remarkable.  Thanks a lot for being with us.  We really appreciate it. 

So, not guilty on all counts, that‘s the story of Michael Jackson‘s trial.  After four long months, the jury sends Michael back to Neverland a free man.       

Now it‘s time to bring in our all-star legal panel.  We‘ve got criminal defense attorney Robert Shapiro and Joe Tacopina.  We also have with us Gloria Allred. 

Let me—let me start with you, Robert. 

“The New York Times” calls this verdict—quote—“a stinging defeat for a retiring prosecutor.”  What happened to Tom Sneddon today? 

ROBERT SHAPIRO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I think “The New York Times” has it precisely correct.  The prosecution lost this case.  As good as Tom Mesereau is, the defense did not win it. 

And they lost this case, as they lose many high-profile cases, because they try them differently than any other case.  This was a simple allegation of child molestation.  It requires three or four witnesses to come up and describe what happened and let the jury either hear from the defendant or make a decision.

But, instead, the prosecution comes up with this farfetched theory of conspiracy for kidnapping, for extortion.  This case has nothing to do with kidnapping or extortion.  If you had any other child molestation case, they‘d laugh at you if you filed those charges.  So, they overcharge.  They try to do it differently.  They take three months of a jury‘s time, when they should have taken two weeks, and they end up right where they started, with zero. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s the result. 

Gloria Allred, do you agree that Sneddon overreached and, because he overreached, it‘s quite possible that a pedophile may have escaped justice? 

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY:  Well, I think it‘s a sad day for the justice system.  And I do think that I would have liked to have seen the focus more on the allegations of child molestation.  But you know what?  It may not...


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, hold on, though.  That‘s Tom Sneddon‘s fault, isn‘t it, Gloria? 

ALLRED:  Well, you know, he may have thought that he could have brought more witnesses in or, frankly, dirty up the defendant by bringing in the conspiracy charges. 

But, you know, I don‘t like to be a Monday-morning quarterback in terms of beating up on the person who didn‘t prevail.  He did what he thought was best and he‘s going to live with the result.  But I‘m concerned about a couple of things.  One, I wonder if there‘s going to be a civil case, because, remember, even after the acquittal in the O.J. Simpson case, Joe, there was a civil case. 


ALLRED:  And, in that case, O.J. Simpson had to testify under oath.  Now, Michael Jackson didn‘t testify at the criminal case.  He never got up on the witness stand and denied anything.  It wasn‘t a he said/he said.  It was a they said.  And Michael Jackson never said anything under oath. 

But, in the civil case, if there is one by the child, not the mother, he would have to testify.  And it might be, there would be a different result with a lower burden of proof. 

Joe Tacopina, let me bring you in here really quickly.

It‘s very interesting how, just a week ago, everybody was talking about how Tom Mesereau blew it and how Sneddon was going to win this. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Of course, we find out today that didn‘t happen. 

I love this headline from the Associated Press tonight: “Jackson‘s Lawyer Dominated Courtroom.”  And it talks about how Tom Mesereau now is the greatest criminal defense attorney in America.  What happened? 

TACOPINA:  Well, what happened is, if you really peel away all the rhetoric and all the expert opinion and, you know, was the jury coming to court in suits that day, that means a verdict coming, and just look at the bare facts here, Joe. 

You keep saying you‘re shocked by the verdict.  I respect your opinion a lot, Joe, but not when you say that, because, if you look at the facts of this case and these allegations, it‘s laughable.  And I stand by the proposition that I‘ve been saying for over a year. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You think what?  You think this case, that he even brought this case, was laughable? 

TACOPINA:  Is laughable, because if...


SCARBOROUGH:  Against a guy that has a long history of child molestation?

TACOPINA:  No, no, no, no.

Where, Joe?  Where has Michael Jackson ever admitted or been found of molestation?  Here, the prosecution had the unbelievable luxury of being able to somehow peel in five other allegations...

SCARBOROUGH:  Nineteen ninety-three?

TACOPINA:  ... of prior misconduct of sexual abuse of children.


TACOPINA:  And what happens there?  That was, I think, the death knell to their case, because three of those kids of the alleged abuse victims came into the court for the defense and testified not only did Michael Jackson never laid so much as a hand on him.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Joe, you‘re saying Michael Jackson is clean?

TACOPINA:  Not only did Michael Jackson never laid a hand on them, but the prosecutor never even asked them if they were victims. 


SCARBOROUGH:  So, Joe, let me ask you this.  If your next-door neighbor is 46 years old and he‘s got...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on—and he‘s got kids sleeping over at his house...

TACOPINA:  I can answer the question, Joe.   

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead.  Answer it. 

TACOPINA:  Of course not.

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘ve got no problem with that?

TACOPINA:  I would not let my kid sleep in a bed with any 45-year-old. 

But that‘s not what Michael is being charged with.  He‘s not charged with being eccentric, weird or having a regressed 13-year-old‘s mind.  He‘s charged with sexual molestation, a count and a series of counts that didn‘t even come close to being proven. 

Here you had a situation where, for this to be true, Joe—listen to this one fact—for this to be true, after the Bashir documentary aired, which focused the eyes of the world on this relationship between Jackson and the accuser, and the LAPD started investigating and the Jackson camp rounded the wagons to try and, you know, get through this thing and the eyes of the world were on the Jackson-accuser relationship, it was at that time and only that time that Michael Jackson decided to begin to sexually abusing him, if you believe the prosecution‘s case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 


ALLRED:  Wait a minute. 

Joe, that—there‘s a good argument that it could have happened at that time.  And the argument would be that then Michael Jackson would have been under even more stress than he was ever in before.  And when a person is under more stress...

TACOPINA:  Stress?

ALLRED:  And if...


TACOPINA:  Oh, he molested him because was under stress.


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Robert, Robert Shapiro, I want—let me...


ALLRED:  And if a person is taking medication, that can be a time that he might sexually abuse... 


TACOPINA:  I guess so.  Anything is possible.

SCARBOROUGH:  Robert Shapiro, let me bring you back in.  I want to ask you, Robert Shapiro...


SHAPIRO:  I‘m not—I‘m not getting in the middle of this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, no, no.  Don‘t get in the middle of this. 

But I—but the question now comes from Joe Tacopina.  Should Tom Sneddon have even brought this case in the very beginning?  What do you say? 

SHAPIRO:  Well, I don‘t know what Tom Sneddon should bring or should not bring. 

The reason I don‘t know that is because I‘ve never talked to the little boy who is the accuser in this case.  You haven‘t seen him, Joe.  The majority of people in America haven‘t seen him.  This case is about credibility.  Is he believable or is he not believable?  We‘ve seen many cases where charges like this are manufactured.  We‘ve seen others where they‘re very serious and they absolutely did occur. 

But, unless you‘re in that courtroom, Joe, unless you feel the pulse of that witness, unless you look that witness dead in the eye, unless you feel the heat coming off that witness chair, you or nobody else is in any position, especially the media, to judge credibility of a witness. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask you, Gloria Allred, all I can do is talk to all the people that were in the courthouse. 

And when they—when the boy was on the stand himself in person, he wasn‘t as convincing.  Everybody that I talked to, including, I believe Joe last week said that the general agreement was that the videotape was extraordinarily moving.  If that‘s the case, what happened?  Did this—did this jury decide after they saw the mother that they really didn‘t care what happened after that? 

ALLRED:  And that videotape that you mentioned, which was so important or should have been or could have been, Joe, where the police are videotaping the child who was being interviewed by them, was interesting and important because the child, on that videotape, doesn‘t want his mother to know what he has just told the police about the allegations of child sexual abuse.  So, that is extremely important. 

I just wonder what might have happened if Michael Jackson had had the courage to take the witness stand and testify under oath. 

TACOPINA:  Oh, geez. 

ALLRED:  And if the judge had allowed into evidence the drawing made by the ‘93 child of the underside of Mr. Jackson‘s genitals, how would Michael Jackson have explained that? 

What innocent explanation could there have been for the fact that the ‘93 child could draw the markings on the underside of Mr. Jackson‘s private area?


SCARBOROUGH:  Joe, I‘ll let you handle that as we go to break. 

TACOPINA:  Joe, this is not a—this is not a macho contest here. 

I mean, this is not a contest about, should Michael Jackson take the witness stand if was so—if had so much courage or if he didn‘t have courage?  I mean, that‘s ridiculous.  And that‘s a ridiculous thing for a lawyer to say, especially one who I think would practice criminal law.  You didn‘t—it is not a macho—you‘re trying to win a case.

And if Michael Jackson believed and the lawyers believed that the case hadn‘t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt at that point, you don‘t put him up there just to deny it.  Obviously, the jury understood he was denying it by pleading not guilty, Joe.  So, I mean, that sort of thing—and the ‘93 accuser, by the way, he‘s another one who didn‘t take the stand.  Michael Jackson had to be tried and convicted on the evidence of this current allegation, not something that happened 13 years ago. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Joe Tacopina, thanks a lot.  Robert Shapiro and Gloria Allred, greatly appreciate it. 

And, of course, as we‘ve said on this show many times, it‘s Michael Jackson‘s right, his constitutional right, not to take the witness stand.

So, coming up, more on Michael Jackson.  He‘s been making controversy lately, but not records.  But now that he‘s been found not guilty, will he bounce back and hit the charts?  We‘re going to be talking about that and also take you down to Aruba for the very latest in that tragic story—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Jackson beats it, the rap that is.  Much more to come, including what it means for his career.  Is he broke?  Does he keep his kids?  That and a lot more.

But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

Now more on the Jackson acquittal.  With me now is former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti, defense attorney Mickey Sherman, defense attorney Mary Prevost and also former prosecutor John Kelly. 

John Kelly, let me go to you. 

What happened in this case?  I mean, again, just last week, everybody was talking about how the prosecutor was brilliant, how Mesereau didn‘t handle closing well.  And yet, a week later, it seems that Mesereau‘s a genius and, again, here we have the AP saying “Jackson Lawyer Dominated Courtroom.”  How quickly we all forget. 

JOHN KELLY, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  You know what, Joe?  And I said this at the beginning.  This case was fatally flawed from the very beginning.  You had a complainant here who went and consulted with two civil attorneys and a psychiatrist retained by the civil attorneys before he ever went to the police. 

You had a family that had made previous grabs for money, making allegations of sexual abuse that were proved to be false in the past.  The jury was just not going to buy it.  The case did not smell good.  And I didn‘t like the fact it was brought in the first place. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Mary Fulginiti, are all eyes on Tom Sneddon tonight, wondering why he brought this case, why he mishandled it so badly? 

MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  You know what?  I think everyone has been really unfair to Tom Sneddon. 

I think he did—why he brought the case was because there was a victim, obviously, that claimed that Michael Jackson had molested him.  And you have to understand, we can all sit here and criticize, you know, the case and the quality of the case, but the bottom line is, they were able to convince not just Tom Sneddon, but other detectives, other sheriffs, other child psychologists, and a grand jury in this case, because it was the grand jury that ultimately sent this case to the jury. 

So, he did a marvelous job.  Unfortunately, as one juror said, it just wasn‘t enough.  But I think he did the best with what he had.  And, frankly, I was a little surprised by the verdict, but given that it‘s a celebrity case and the media attention, I wasn‘t totally surprised. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I‘m very surprised. 

But, Mickey Sherman, I‘ll tell you what.  What I think Mesereau did brilliantly from the very beginning was, he focused on this mother.  He made this case about the mother, not about Michael Jackson, not about the boy, beat the heck out of her.  And it looks like it paid off. 

MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  And he tried the case inside the courtroom and didn‘t seem to be caring about what everyone was saying outside, especially everyone who said that he fell on his face by not putting people on after that video. 

I think he did what he had to do.  And he had to go after the mother.  A lot of people faulted him for that.  But when you say that Tom Sneddon, when someone said that Tom Sneddon did a lot with what he had, he didn‘t have enough to do anything and he shouldn‘t have brought the case to begin with.  And I don‘t laud him, because this is a guy who put out 100 search warrants against Michael Jackson.  That‘s overkill. 

And when he tried the case, as Bob Shapiro pointed out in the last segment, he overtried the case.  He spent too much time sliming Michael Jackson, bringing in his finances.  What the hell does the financial—financial situation have to do with child molestation? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mary Prevost, one of the jurors who was asked in the press conference, you know, how they came to their conclusion, had this to say. 

They said: “We looked at Michael Jackson and one of the first things we decided was that we had to look at him just like any other individual, not just as a celebrity,” the male jury foreman said.

I smirk when I say that, because you can‘t look at Michael Jackson as anything other than a very strange, very bizarre pop superstar. 


And I think that Michael Jackson ‘s history in this case really helped him and all the media attention of all of his odd acts over the year, like buying the elephant man‘s bones and bathing only on Evian water, dangling his child from a hotel balcony, something that nobody in their right mind would do.  I think all of those really odd things that have followed him that he‘s exhibited over the years really let this jury see that perhaps this really, really bizarre, strange, weird, odd man really truly believes that it‘s OK to share your bed with a child, and perhaps that‘s all that happened. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, John Q. Kelly, we live in a society that orders conformity, almost demands conformity.

Are you surprised that this jury was able to sort through all of those strange events and look at Michael Jackson‘s life, look at this case and say, you know what, we‘re not going to view him as a celebrity; we‘re going to view him as one of us?  Do you think that may have made the difference here? 

KELLY:  It would have been really hard to do, Joe. 


SCARBOROUGH:  But hold on a second, though.  The jury foreman said...

KELLY:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... we decided to look at him as one of us. 

KELLY:  I know.  You know what?  I...

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a bunch of crap, isn‘t it? 

KELLY:  I think you‘re right, Joe. 


KELLY:  And you know what.  Quite frankly, I think his nonconformity and his bizarre behavior, the fact that he openly talked about sleeping with children and loving the children and dying without the children and his almost bizarre behavior sort of was a justification and sort of his defense in this case, that he was so bizarre and so out in left field that the jury could almost accept it and think that he could act that way without actually molesting this young man. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Mary Fulginiti, what‘s next?  There a lot of people out there that want to see Michael Jackson punished.  Or is it going to be O.J. redo?  Are we going to—are we going to have a civil case where somebody—where the mother goes after Michael Jackson and he has to go through it all again? 

And, also, of course, we‘ve got the kids.  Will the state of California move in and try to take Michael Jackson‘s children from him? 

FULGINITI:  Well, you know, with regard to bringing a civil lawsuit, the mother, you know, has said, it‘s been reported, that she doesn‘t intend to sue him and never did intend to sue him. 

But now that this is over, you know, you may very well see a civil lawsuit against him.  That‘s what happened in the O.J. case.  And it may very well happen here.  But, as for the state taking the children away, you know what?  They‘ve done their investigation in this case and they have done it before, because they‘re part of the process here also when it comes to investigating child molestation claims. 

And I think, you know, if they thought Michael Jackson was, you know, endangering these children in any way that, you know, that they felt that the child needed to be removed from the household, you know, they would have already done it.  So, I think that he just may, you know, be able to keep living his life the way it is.  And, hopefully, hopefully, he will have learned a lesson from all this and alter his behavior. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, yes, whatever. 

Mickey Sherman, I won‘t even ask you if you think Michael Jackson is going to learn his lesson from this. 

I‘ll ask you the same question.  Do you expect now to see a civil suit from this mother, who, let‘s face it, has been made out to be the bad guy in this case, has got to be humiliated and maybe wants a pound of flesh of Jackson?

SHERMAN:  Well, she ain‘t going to get a pound of flesh.  She may get a minor razor cut, at most. 

I mean, it‘s going to be a minor bump in the road if there‘s a civil case here.  This is the same woman who is an admitted perjurer.  Her testimony is going to worth nothing in the civil court.  And, don‘t forget, you can‘t compare this to the O.J. civil case.  What are the damages?  O.J.  had two dead bodies.  That‘s substantial damages.  In this case, what are the damages?  The psychiatric reports?  The shrink reports?  I don‘t think it‘s going to make it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks a lot.  Greatly appreciate it. 

Thanks to this great panel. 

Now, many Jackson fans stood by their man during the case, but will they buy his C.D.s again?  The experts what‘s next for Michael Jackson‘s career. 

And, also, we‘re going to go to Aruba to get the very latest on the search for Natalee.  It‘s getting ugly down there.  And it looks like some of the suspects may be cracking under pressure. 

Stay with us.  That‘s next.



SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Michael‘s free.  He‘s got some pretty big bills to pay, Michael Jackson does.  Can he recover? 

With me now to talk about it are “Blender‘ magazine music editor Rob Tannenbaum and also MSNBC editor Dana Kennedy.

Dana, let me go to you first.  What is next for Michael Jackson?  Does he go to Vegas?  Does he go to London or does he just go to Neverland and rack up more and more bills? 

DANA KENNEDY, NBC ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR:  Well, I think, if he goes to Vegas, I can only imagine that he would have to perform in front of a montage of little boys.  And I‘m not sure that would go over too well. 

You know, when I saw the DA, Tom Sneddon, today, the ultimate loser—

I mean, you really can‘t lose more than he did today—but it reminded me of an old episode, say, of “Batman,” when he was like the weary crimefighter who knows he got the Penguin or the Joker the Riddler.  That‘s who Michael Jackson is.  He‘s like the wily villain who has escaped the net again.  Will he come back?

These scandals, these trials are almost like farewell tours.  It‘s like what Frank Sinatra used to do or what Cher did.  But, instead, Michael Jackson plays out his career in court.  I have to say, if I were a betting woman, I don‘t think he can recover his musical career, which was really over in the early ‘80s to begin with.  He‘s put out great music since then, but his big career has been as a scandal monger, as an alleged pedophile.  So, I would say no. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Rob, so—now, Rob, what do you think?  I mean, obviously, I mean, the guy could go on tour with his brothers and do a Jackson Five reunion.  Or what does he do? 

ROB TANNENBAUM, MUSIC EDITOR, “BLENDER”:  I think, at this point, he does whatever Tom Mesereau tells him to do. 

Can Mesereau write some songs?  Can Mesereau produce? 


TANNENBAUM:  He‘s got the magic touch.  Maybe he can help bring back Michael‘s career. 

You know, even without the child molestation scandals, Michael would be in trouble.  He‘s going to be 47 years old this year.  And, in pop star terms, that‘s geriatric.  I mean, there just aren‘t 47 superstars in the pop music world.  On top of that, although the jury found him not guilty today, the country has found him guilty of just being a weirdo. 


TANNENBAUM:  We don‘t really like to pay money to buy records by weirdos. 



TANNENBAUM:  And, you know, even if he didn‘t molest children, he‘s still been sharing his bed with 12- and 13-year-old boys.  People don‘t want to see their children spending money to buy records by a guy who shares his bed with 13-year-olds. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Tom, I agree with you.  This guy is like—Rob, I mean.  Rob, this guy‘s 46.  I‘ve still got Tom Sneddon on my mind. 

This guy‘s 46, 47 years old, way too old to still be performing on stage.  By the way, have you bought your Rolling Stone tickets yet for Madison Square Garden? 

TANNENBAUM:  Speaking of geriatric. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Speaking of geriatrics, Aerosmith, they just keep going and going and going. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I want you ask, though, this, about this, though, because you hit on a very good point, where, yes, maybe he got off.  Maybe the jury let him off. 

But I‘ll tell you what.  I decided, as a joke, because my wife is a big ‘80s and ‘90s music fan, I bought her Michael Jackson‘s “Number Ones.”  I also bought her “Off the Wall” for Christmas, a little ha-ha.  She still hasn‘t played them.  She refuses to put them on, even though she was a huge Michael Jackson fan in the ‘80s. 

I suspect, like you said, he‘s been convicted in the court of public opinion now.  And they don‘t want to hear this guy.  They don‘t want to see him.  They just want him to go away. 

TANNENBAUM:  Well, I think we‘re talking about two separate questions here.  One is, can he be as big a star as he was 20 years ago?  “Thriller” is the second best selling album of all time, sold 26 million copies.  The answer is no. 

But you know what, Joe?  No one in our lifetime will ever be as big a music star as Michael Jackson was 20 years ago.  He wasn‘t just a superstar, though.  He was also a great writer and producer and performer.  And there‘s no reason to think that he can‘t go back to being an artist, even if he‘s not going to be a superstar, the way he always has been and is obsessed with becoming again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, Dana Kennedy, so, what does he do?  Again, we talked about Vegas.  Is there anybody in Hollywood that wants to touch this guy, any agent, any manager, any record company? 


KENNEDY:  Well, maybe the Kabbalah Centre or Scientology.  They are the only two places I can imagine who do work with celebrities in questionable circumstances. 

I absolutely can‘t—I really have to say that I agree with rob.  I think he‘s one of the all-time greatest artists, but I think he has ruined himself, as I said, because he didn‘t know how to maintain the level of fame he had before.  He didn‘t know how just to sort of grow older gracefully.  And I will say Madonna, whatever you want to say about her, she‘s going to be 47 in August.  I saw her last summer, and she is not geriatric.  She was great.

It can be done, Michael, if he just hadn‘t blown it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I actually would like Madonna to also go away. 

KENNEDY:  No.  I love her. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Rob Tannenbaum.

TANNENBAUM:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, also, Dana Kennedy, greatly appreciate it.

By the way, just this little stat for you to let you know what Michael Jackson, the free man, is facing.  In 2002, his balance sheet was this.  He had assets of $130 million, liabilities of $415 million.  Ruh-roh. 

Anyway, that‘s it.  Michael Jackson, that‘s the verdict. 

But I‘ll tell you what.  Coming up next, we‘re taking you to Aruba to get the very latest on what‘s happening with Natalee Holloway.  That‘s coming up next. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up this Friday, a special Father‘s Day‘s edition of the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.  Think your pop deserves to be the champ?  Drop me an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com

We‘ll be right back. 



BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  They hold the  key.  They have the answers.  It‘s going to be up to the governments to put enough pressure on these individuals to divulge the information.  They know where my daughter is. 


SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s Beth Holloway Twitty, Natalee Holloway‘s mother, pleading for answers this morning on “The Today Show.” 

Martin Savidge is still on Aruba and he‘s still following this case and brings us up to date with the very latest—Martin. 



Additional off-island resources being brought to bear in the investigation of this disappearance case, but this time it‘s not coming from the U.S.  It‘s coming but from the Netherlands, special investigators with special equipment. 

This could be in part a response to frustration on the part of the family that they say the government is not doing enough in this case.  There are a dozen FBI agents here but their role is very limited, pretty much as advisers.  They do sit in on the interrogations, but they‘re not allowed to ask questions.  Some reportedly have said that they didn‘t think the interrogation process was, well, strong enough. 

Meanwhile, the question of privilege has been brought up.  There‘s a 17-year-old in custody whose father is a prominent judicial official on the island.  Many here think, yes, he could get some favoritism.  They point out that the two earliest suspects, the former security guards, were arrested very quickly, whereas it took 11 days to arrest the 17-year-old, even though he was with Natalee the night she vanished—Joe. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks a lot, Martin.

Well, and, of course, that‘s what we‘ve been talking about for some time, that investigation sidetracked, I believe, by privilege, by the sort of judicial politics going down in Aruba. 

Now, friends, that‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Thanks for being with us.  If you got something to say, e-mail me at Joe@MSNBC.com

Again, Michael Jackson acquitted on all charges.  More coverage is coming up next with Dan Abrams. 

And I‘ll see you tomorrow night right here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 


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